The catamaran drifts gently away from the pier as a soothing ukulele player begins to play. The beautiful sound sets a magical tone for our Lana’i sunset cruise. The Hawaiian music continues as the sails are raised. After our ukulele player finishes a few songs, he stops by to say aloha and I Immediately sense his good nature and willingness to share his story.

His name is Saul and he was born and raised in Hawai’i. After living a few years on the mainland, he returned home with his wife whom he met while living away from his native Hawai’i.  

As a blonde from North Carolina, I ask if I would fit in if I moved to Lana’i. He responds, “I married a blonde, so yeah! Though you have to give back to the community and then you will be accepted.” His wife volunteers at the senior center and Saul volunteers with the youth in the community. He believes it’s important to give back into the community to make it stronger. I couldn’t agree more.

Lana’i is a small island off the coast of Maui with a big community vibe. There are roughly 3,200 people on the island where pretty much everyone knows everyone. On Lana’i, the deer outnumber the humans.

I am already feeling something special about this island and Saul’s warmth has only confirmed this.

While talking about kids, Saul tells me his kids were not born on Lana’i, “There isn’t a hospital on the island, only an emergency center to handle stitches and broken bones. Depending on the level of emergency, a pregnant woman is either flown to Honolulu or taken on a ferry to Maui to give birth.”

“What do you do on the island for fun?” I quiz. “I hunt, fish, and camp. Anything in the outdoors,” Saul happily answers.

He explains some of the limitations of living on a small island. Almost weekly, Saul and his family take a ferry to Maui to get groceries and other household items, since shopping is much cheaper there. I learn that if you want to get anything from Home Depot, you have to order online and it will arrive on a weekly boat on Wednesdays.

It’s time for another song, so Saul takes his singing position.

There are a few more everyday challenges living on Lana’i, but I think Saul wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Saul is a proud Hawaiian who was open to sharing his way of life with me.

I’m grateful for his candor. This enlightening encounter motivates me to keep getting out in the world to learn about people around the world.

Gotta go now, need to find a new place to explore!

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